Friday, November 12, 2010
Drumheads - Polygala cruciata
Drumheads (Polygala cruciata) is quite distinctive in appearance and not likely to be confused with other species. It occurs nearly statewide in Florida and throughout the eastern US in open moist-soil habitats such as savannas, marsh edges, and wet pinelands.
It is an annual and relatively small in stature. At maturity, it rarely stands taller than about 6-8 inches. The short linear leaves occur mostly in whorls of 4 around the stem. Arising from these leaves are the branched flower stalks that reach 8-12 inches at maturity in late summer.
Drumheads produce conical heads of flowers that are normally surrounded by bracts that are a rich pink in color. The tiny interior flowers are yellowish and pollinated by a variety of small insects.
Watch for this wonderful wildflower in late summer and early fall nearly everywhere in Florida where soils are moist and the habitat is open and sunny. It may never be a candidate for home landscapes, but it is easy to admire nevertheless.